The Gospel Is Bigger Than Your Waistline: 7 Ways The Gospel Should Change Your Outlook On Weight Loss

Overweight

Overweight (Photo credit: just.Luc)

I’ve recently been on a diet, and I’ve lost 30 pounds in as many days. It was time. It needed to happen. 30 days ago, I was the heaviest I have ever been. I’m ashamed to even tell you how much that was, but I’ll do it because it’s good for my humility, keeps me accountable, and it’s a testament to the goodness of God toward me in the past month. I was…ugh…three hundred and sixty-five pounds.

There. I said it.

No, I didn’t take before and after photos. I was too embarrassed to take the before photo – even if I was the only one who was ever going to see it. I’m that guy who didn’t take his shirt off at the pool. Still don’t. I didn’t like mirrors because secretly I knew that what I saw was a reflection of my physical laziness and food-idolatry. Now, I doubt anyone would have guessed that I weighed quite that much. I carried it quite well (if such a thing is possible). I’ve always been a big guy – and I don’t mean “big” in the euphemistic sense that obese people use it in order to excuse their obesity. I am 6′ 5″ and have a very large frame. Losing 50 pounds for me would certainly be significant, but probably not as noticable or significant as it would for those of you who are naturally smaller than I am. I’ve been overweight since I was a child, save for a few months after high-school when I lost a significant amount of weight – right before I gained it all back after my first indulgence in a post-diet bowl of fettucine alfredo. But I’m not a teenager anymore, and at 29 years old and 365 pounds, my body was certainly beginning to draw my attention to the ill-effects. I ached. I was out of breath. The skin on my legs was turning purple. My back spasmed. I had developed chronic gout. I felt weak. I was constantly battling to keep depression at bay. That was at my heaviest. It was simultaneously my high and my low.
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This Just Hit Me: I’m not too good at this whole blogging thing (so here are some sermons of mine for you to listen to)

Well it’s been a while again. I know, I know. When this whole blog thing started in its latest iteration, I said that I wanted to make sure that I continually added to it and that this time around things would be different. I would stick with it. And I have – sort of. I’m still here, albeit infrequently. Part of that infrequency is just my nature and bad habits. Working on that. Part of it is being at home alone with my kids during the day, trying to do the housework, and working in the evenings. It doesn’t leave much “me” time – not that I mind terribly, but the endeavor of blogging would be easier without the other demands on my time. Oh well. We’re a year into this thing and I have fewer posts than I had hoped, but probably not much less than I should have expected. I can live with that.

In my last post I told you that my next installment of “This Just Hit Me” would deal with the differences between modesty and humility. Well, I wanted to make good on that before I wrote anything else. Except, to save time and give you guys a little bonus, I’m going to link to a couple of sermons I recently preached. I had the honor and pleasure of preaching at Cornerstone Baptist Church in High Point, NC twice this summer and this idea of contrast between modesty and humility worked its way into the first of these sermons which was on Philippians 2 and godly humility.  That sermon basically says everything that I would have said in the “This Just Hit Me” entry I had planned – and more – so I’m substituting one for the other. You can listen to it here.

And just for sticking with me this long, I’ll throw in the other sermon for free. It deals with the story of Hagar in Genesis 16. You can listen to it here.

This Just Hit Me…

Sparkler

Sparkler. Image courtesy Microsoft.

I’m not the smartest guy in the world. Many times, in fact, I’m pretty dense.

Ask my wife.

Sometimes though, I do have surprising moments of clarity. I don’t know if you are like this, but every once in a while, particularly after some reflection or some period of daydreaming or deep thought, my brain cries, “Eureka!”. Something clicks, a light goes on, and for that fleeting moment in time, I grasp some concept or life-lesson or truth and view it with a clarity and precision that had previously escaped me. Actually, I find that much of my spiritual development happens in these moments. Maybe you are like that. Maybe you aren’t. That’s the way it works for me.

It’s kind of like a spark, actually. That idea or realization will burn very brightly for a short time. But if I want to develop it, grow from it, nurture it – let it really impact my life, I have to get it out of my head and placed somewhere else. In order for that spark to be fanned to flame, there has to be an intermediary channel – some kind of tinder – that will allow the spark to smolder slowly at first, and then develop into a small flame that will continue to burn long enough for me to put it to the firewood. I have to be able to see the idea in front of me and interact with it long enough to let the reflection upon the idea impact me and compel me to action. Sometimes that means writing it down. Sometimes it means engaging a close friend in conversation about it. Sometimes it means dropping everything and praying about it right then and there. The point is, if I don’t get that spark to tinder, the spark that had the potential to be a bonfire dies a death of inactivity and is reduced to a puff of smoke.

For that reason, I wanted to start a new blog post series entitled, “This Just Hit Me.” I haven’t written a good blog post in several months now (Sorry!) and I shudder to think how many of those sparks have gone up in smoke during that time. The idea is not for it to be a time-limited series with regularly-scheduled entries, but rather for it to be an ongoing series with its entries being the product of my reflecting on these sparks as they occur naturally to me. The first of these will be an entry on the difference between modesty and humility. Stay tuned.

I’m sure I won’t get to all the sparks. But hopefully I will save a few. And hopefully, they will be fanned to flame. And hopefully, dear Reader, you will be able to warm yourself by the heat.

Why Christians Who Share My Views On Alcohol Often Drive Me Nuts

English: A glass of port wine. Français : Un v...

A glass of port wine. Public domain image.

Recent years have seen renewed acceptance of alcohol consumption among evangelicals generally, and among Southern Baptists particularly. Just a few decades ago, teetotalism was the norm in evangelical circles, but now it seems the tide is shifting. If discussions I have had with several of my peers can accurately serve as any indication, the up-and-coming generation of Southern Baptist pastors and leaders will prove with time to diverge significantly from the traditional, recently resolved Southern Baptist position on the issue.

During my seminary career at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, students were required to sign a “Covenant Agreement Form” which outlined several points of requirement for conduct by which enrolled students were expected to abide. This form is still given to incoming students to sign and everyone is required to sign it before they are allowed to enroll for classes. Number six on the list of items is a wholesale prohibition on consumption of alcohol by any student, along with accompanying prohibitions on tobacco and illegal drugs. Every year, Danny Akin, the school’s president, would hold an open forum chapel service where he would field questions submitted by the student body. Every year, one of the questions he answered would be, “Why the prohibition on alcohol?” And every year, it seemed, he reassured us that this year was going to be the last year he would answer the question. Continue reading

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Grief, The Gospel, And The God Of Happy Valley (Repost With Update)

Joe Paterno. Public domain image.

UPDATE: The following post was originally posted on my last (now deleted) blog, coramdeolife.blogspot.com. It was originally posted on November 11th of 2011 in response to facts that had come to light upon the release of the Sandusky grand jury presentment. Since that time, Sandusky has been convicted of 45 criminal counts, Joe Paterno has passed away, his statue has been removed, administrative officials allegedly involved in the cover-up have been fired, and the NCAA has laid down some of the most stringent punitive measures in it’s history against Penn State. Additionally, it has just come to light that there are new investigations being led by the Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Attorney Office regarding an alleged child-porn distribution ring involving Sandusky and others. Insofar as the post indicates that my wife and I were considering church planting in State College, God’s movement in our lives in the following months led to us to investigate a calling to the city of Philadelphia and we are pursuing the opportunity to plant there at the current time. 

Sadly, many loyal fans still seem angry at the media and those involved in the investigation (i.e. independent investigator Lewis Freeh and others) for the demise of their football program, the tarnished reputation of their beloved coach, and the negative public perception currently plaguing the university. For these reasons and because of the renewed interest in the scandal sure to come about due to newly publicized investigations, I thought it suitable to republish this article. At the root of things, nothing since its writing has really changed. People worship persons. People worship themselves. People worship things around them. They don’t often worship God. Here’s to helping us all do just that: Continue reading

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